Horsetails And The Hidden Marriage

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Horsetails And The Hidden Marriage

Post by edfrank » Sat May 07, 2011 5:14 pm

Horsetails And The Hidden Marriage
By Robert H Olley | May 7th 2011 11:34 AM ... iage-78717
As a teenager, in the early 1960s, I developed an interest in botany, and in particular ferns and the so-called “fern-allies”. So, living in the drier South-East of England, I welcomed trips to places where these plants about, such as Wales, mountainous Scotland, and Cornwall. But today I am travelling through time, showing how our knowledge of this branch of the Plant Kingdom has expanded over the last 200 years or so. (continued)

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I used to think that clubmosses, ferns and horsetails were more or less equivalent branches of land plants, and that the vascular plants had developed from the ferns. But modern phylogeny shows a much richer picture.

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"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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James Parton
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Re: Horsetails And The Hidden Marriage

Post by James Parton » Sat May 07, 2011 8:37 pm

I have always liked the ferns, clubmosses and horsetails. I have always found the horsetails the more fascinating of the groups though I rarely see them here in the NC Mountains. I vividly remember some horsetails growing on a creek bank along the nature trail at the old Enka High School when I was in the 11th grade. I more vividly remember pretty Paula Redden on that trail though.
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Re: Horsetails And The Hidden Marriage

Post by Don » Sun May 08, 2011 9:20 pm

If I've already made note here of my fern tree fossil, I apologize for the replication. But one of the more exciting finds for me while wandering the highly dissected Cumberland Plateau (within boundaries of Redbird Ranger District in Daniel Boone NF), were two 'sand cast' fossils, one a giant horsetail (8" in diameter, 12" in length, finely detailed plant features) and a smaller tree fern (four inches diameter and 8" in length). The giant horsetail I found on along a ridgetop, at interface between a limestone cap and underlying coal seam. The fern tree I found at the edge of a forest haul road, mid-slope). Both had amazing detail.
They're still around I think, I left them with one of the forestry profs at UMASS when I left for was Bill Wilson, probably long retired by now.
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